Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Power of Leadership

According to a new survey released in January by national workplace expert Lynn Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant –TOT (John Wiley & Sons), U.S. employees spend 19.2 hours a week (13 hours during the work week and 6.2 hours on the weekend) worrying about “what a boss says or does.” Click here to read more.

That number is staggering to me. Almost half of the work week spent worrying about their boss. Sad.

Though that number of hours is shocking to me, it shouldn't be. I spent a couple of years with a boss who was the king of all tyrants. He's the guy I wrote about in
Bleedership, Biblical First-Aid for Leaders in which I contrasted his leadership style with the leadership styles of the great leaders in the Bible.

He was our president and I was vice-president of sales. I saw first-hand the negative effect a tyrannical boss can have on an organization, and not just emotionally. My boss hurt the company's bottom-line...significantly.

Like most companies, we had a mission statement. Something that was nice and flowery, something that sounded really good to clients. However, what we found is that informally, our mission statement changed. It became, Do whatever it takes to avoid the wrath of our boss. I'm serious about this.

This became the way we made decisions. What will make him less mad? Whatever the answer was to that question is how we proceeded. We were so afraid to make a mistake and make our boss angry that it paralyzed us and the company suffered.

On the other hand, our previous leader did things quite a bit differently. He allowed his team to do their jobs the way they thought was best and he allowed them to fail. He also saw his primary role as to remove obstacles so that we could more effectively do our jobs. As a result, we felt like trusted members of the team and we wanted to work that much harder. That team thrived and so did the company.

And then it came crashing down. That's the power of leadership--so lead well!

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